Recently, my husband had a tooth extracted at our local dentist (ouch!).
He’d already been told on a previous visit that the tooth was cracked and might have to be removed. But when he noticed the tooth had become wobbly, he called the dental practice to say he thought it might be time to remove it.
Here’s what didn’t happen next….
The receptionist didn’t invite him to come in for a free consultation to see if the tooth needed to be removed.
The receptionist didn’t put his call through to the dentist for free advice about the tooth.
Instead, the receptionist booked my husband in for a 30-minute paid appointment so the dentist could have a look to see if the tooth needed to be removed. This initial appointment cost £60.
During this paid consultation it was decided the tooth had to come out, but this required a separate appointment.
The second appointment for the removal was also 30 minutes. It cost £180.
What lessons can lawyers learn from this?
Firstly, there was no free consultation. To get the dentist’s expert opinion on whether the tooth needed removal, my husband had to pay for an appointment. There was no cost to ring the surgery of course, but you don’t get to see (or even speak to) the dentist for free.
Secondly, the two 30-minute appointments did not have the exact cost. The removal cost was three times the initial examination. The removal did require a local anesthetic, so there would have been some extra cost for that. Still, the dentist was charging based on complexity/value rather than on time (and it was a reasonable fee compared to another local dentist who charges £325 for tooth removal).
Oh, and my husband was also asked to pay a deposit when he booked each appointment, to cover cancellation costs if he didn’t turn up and the appointment time was wasted.
What difference would it make if you were to ‘be more dentist’ in your law firm?
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